On any other show, an episode like “O Mother, Where Art Thou?” would have been a season finale. But on Superman & Lois, it’s just another Tuesday. This is a massive “all killer, no filler” episode that has moments like Kal-El getting to meet his Kryptonian mother (sort of), Sarah being let in on the super secret (sort of), and Superman sacrificing himself for the good of humanity (sort of).
First of all, my question last week as to whether Edge being Clark’s brother was literal as figurative was answered right away in “O Mother, Where Art Thou?”. It turns out that Edge – Kryptonian name Tar-Ro – is Kal-El’s half-brother, from his mother’s first relationship. And the device Edge has been using to implant Kryptonian consciousness into unsuspecting Smallville residents? That was invented by Lara.
We also got a better explanation of what Edge’s plan is, and why he ended up the way he did – why he wants to burn the world down. I think this is a great commentary on nature versus nurture, how our circumstances shape who we become. Edge (Tar-Ro) was bitter because Lara left his father, to whom she had been genetically matched, to be with Jor-El, which was a love match. He took her invention and warped its purpose, intent on bringing back Krypton, and Earth was chosen as the sacrificial lamb because he was mistreated as soon as he arrived.
It is absolutely awful what happened to Edge when he arrived on Earth. Whereas Clark was adopted by the Kents and treated like family, given a loving home and a town that welcomed him, Edge was treated with hostility from the beginning. He was attacked, captured, experimented on… I wonder if that’s because Edge was older – Clark was an infant, basically. Although, Kara was also older when she arrived and had a similar experience to Clark. I think Edge had the supreme misfortune to land in an area full of highly suspicious, for lack of a better word, assh*les. (Who shoots at a child? Honestly?)
Clark and Edge are polar opposites – mirrors. It makes you wonder if Clark had been older when he landed on Earth, would it have been the same? If he’d been frightened into using his powers right away? I think we know that the difference into whether or not Clark joins Edge is Lois and the boys. Jonathan is the one who pointed it out – Clark was alone, or he thought he was, and then someone showed up and admitted he could give him a family. On this Earth, Clark had a family; he had parents who loved him, he has Lois and his sons. He doesn’t need what Edge is offering.
Edge’s disappointment that Clark wouldn’t join him in his quest to destroy the planet is surprising. Surely he knows enough about Superman to understand he wouldn’t want to help. I guess he thought the lure of resurrecting his home planet would be enough; but then, even Edge admits that Clark has only ever known Earth. He doesn’t remember Krypton, so he wouldn’t feel any real kinship with it.
My only issue with this revelation of Edge’s past in “O Mother, Where Art Thou?” is that it still leaves a lot of gaps in Edge’s backstory. Perhaps they aren’t important in the grand scheme of things, but I would still like to know, if Edge was in captivity for so long, how did he go to business school? How did he start his business? He’s the head of a major corporation and he doesn’t seem to have a history on this planet; did no one discover that over the years?
Another issue with this is that it continues to call into question how affiliated Superman & Lois is with the greater Arrowverse. There is still no mention of Kara and the only real reference to anything has been Lois briefly mentioning, once, that the multiverse converged. At this point, even though I know that crossovers are incoming, I think it’s best to treat this show as existing on its own.
“O Mother, Where Art Thou?” is an episode that really makes Lana shine. She hasn’t gotten the chance much so far. I do like the flawed take on her character – a woman concerned with appearances, in denial about issues in her family. It’s not something that’s really discussed in the show, but I think it’s a great way to show how women are often socialized into being accommodating and forgiving, even when it’s unwarranted. Anyway, Lana volunteering to host Lara’s consciousness was a brilliant moment, and Emmanuelle Chriqui was fantastic in displaying the subtle differences between the two characters.
I suspect that Lana has cottoned on that Clark is actually Superman – or if she hasn’t, she’ll realize it soon. There is a moment when Superman goes to thank Lana for offering to host Lara, and he calls her Lana, that makes me think she is putting things together.
“O Mother, Where Art Thou?” is an episode that fully demonstrates the kind of man Clark is. I love that when Lois was talking about their marriage to Lara (in Lana’s body), she emphasized that, yes, he was a good hero, but he was an even better man. The moment when he grabs the Eradicator, using his own energy to power it, but also using the energy from the Kryptonians, was amazing. I love that Superman & Lois saves its CGI for moments like this, when it really makes an impact.
I don’t think we’re quite done with the Kryptonian consciousness thing. As Clark was able to use the Eradicator to free the people of Smallville, I think Edge may be able to find a way to do the same thing in reverse. He clearly has another plan lined up; there is a reason why he and Leslie went to where they did. I don’t know the significance of it yet, but surely there must be.
Also, did you see how many people took off to go fight Superman on Edge’s orders? I was surprised there were so many, but it really hammers home that Lois was right in that they don’t know how many people were affected. How was Edge able to get to so many people without anyone realizing?
And, for real, did Edge specifically only pick the jerks? Lara made a point of saying that most Kryptonians were peaceful, but we haven’t seen any evidence of that yet. Of all the Kryptonians we’ve met so far, only Clark and Kara haven’t been homicidal. Did Zeta-Ro have a group of like-minded individuals back on Krypton, and Edge purposely only saved their consciousness?
Jonathan truly exemplifies what it is to be Lois’s son. I love that he flat out told Sarah was going on – at least with Kyle and the others – because he was tired of the secrets and the lying. His statement to Sam that keeping secrets doesn’t seem to have done any good so far is an excellent point that I’m so glad they brought up. I feel like a fair amount of problems that happen in superhero movies and TV shows could be solved by people just being honest with each other.
Sarah still doesn’t know about Jordan, but at least being let it on the alien secret will make it easier to break the news to her when she eventually does find out. I have no doubts that she will. This show isn’t full of the teen angst melodrama that the CW is particularly known for, but there is still drama to be had, and Sarah learning that Jordan is lying to her will be a big source of it in the future.
I think Jordan was affected by the solar flare release of power from the Eradicator. Something seemed a bit off with him after that happened, so I expect the next time we see him, he’ll have a new power. Maybe something to do with vision, or maybe super speed.
What are your thoughts on “O Mother, Where Art Thou?”
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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